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California school shooting leaves 2 dead, several injured

Police say the suspected gunman was taken into custody after opening fire at a high school in Southern California.

People wait for students and updates outside of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting [Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo]
People wait for students and updates outside of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting [Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo]

A student gunman opened fire on Thursday at a Southern California high school, leaving two people dead and several others injured before he was taken into custody, authorities said.

The shooting occurred about 7:30am at Saugus High School in the city of Santa Clarita, about 48km (30 miles) northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Freshman Rosie Rodriguez said she was walking up the library stairs when she heard noises that “sounded like balloons” popping. She realised they were gunshots when she saw other students running.

Still carrying a backpack laden with books, she ran across the street to a home, where a person she did not know gave shelter to her and about 10 other students.

“I just heard a lot of kids crying. We were scared,” Rodriguez said.

On a normal day, she said, Saugus High School felt very safe.

“We never really thought this would happen in our school,” she said.

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital tweeted that one female patient was dead, two males were in critical condition. and one male was in good condition.

It was unclear if there were any other injured. Initial reports fluctuated as high as six.

Suspect a student, police say

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted that the suspect was in custody and was being treated at a hospital. He said the suspect was a student but gave no further information.

Saugus High School and other schools in the area were locked down.

Television images showed deputies swarming the school and several people being moved on gurneys. Lines of students were escorted from the school by armed deputies.

Anxious parents were awaiting reunification with their children in a park near the high school.

Los Angeles County Undersheriff Tim Murakami has tweeted an apology to the parents, saying investigators needed to interview the students before they could be released.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said President Donald Trump was monitoring the reports.

Student Sharon Orelana Cordova told KNBC-TV she hid under a table in a nurse’s office until officers came to get her.

“When I got out I saw this person lying on the ground … with blood all over,” she said.

Student Mason Peters told KCAL-TV his class heard a “distinctive sound” outside.

“And so my teacher quickly sprang to his feet, got up, locked the door, asking the students to get the keys,” he said. “And so we like reinforced it, turned off all the lights and then we got a bunch of desks and stuff and reinforced the doors. And we all just like stayed hidden.”

SOURCE: AP news agency

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